Fill Filled Decoupaged Fiberglass Sculpture 4.5’H x 2.5’W x 2’D
A man with a rhinoceros rear end has been an obsession of mine for 40 years. My first attempt was a small ceramic sculpture of an Italian man. While I was working on the folds in his pants it reminded me of a rhinoceros butt. Married into an Italian family there were many relatives and friends that fit the stereotype: overweight, big smile, hairy chest, gold necklace, cigar, baggy pants.
When I was in graduate school I did a lithograph called "Fat zoo" with great detail in the pants in the back of Rhinoman. I became more specific in the portrayal of the rhino's bumps, folds and tail.
Later I did a series of small sculptures in ceramic again with the great detail in the butt and tail of Rhinoman. In these ceramic sculptures I added a heart tattoo of “Mom” on his chunky arm and named him "Luigi". He was so popular; I am now casting the small 12” “Luigi” in bronze.
I enjoyed creating the textures of the rhino rear so much I wanted to make a detailed larger sculpture in bronze. The process took seven years. Since he was a rhino man, I envisioned him at the zoo. I put a San Diego zoo's cup of a rhino in his hand. Lift the hinge on his drink and see what he's drinking. A can of beer seems appropriate for this happy go lucky man. I also did another version of the sculpture with Nag, Nag, Nag" sitting on his head. I thought he needed a nagging wife.
The impact is two fold; a smile of joy looking at the happy little man drinking a beer and smoking a cigar and disgust in the obese uncontrolled and undisciplined animal of a person. At once there are dual feelings in reacting to the sculpture. The rhino butt and tail are executed with precision in the tactile enjoyment portraying the detailed textures in contrast to the creepy feeling of repulsion of fat and gross negligence in bodily care. At once there are dual feelings in reacting to the sculpture.
In contrast to the “dago” t-shirt of the ceramic “Luigi”, the large bronze Rhinoman wore a shirt with sleeves. The ultimate plan was to create a repeat pattern of fattening foods on the shirt in a fiberglass version. It took me 6 years to find a foundry that could cast in fiberglass and I just finished this version in time for this show.